P.O. Box 2105, Napa, California 94558 — 707.224.6675
NEWS RELEASE July 8, 2010
Contact: Allison K. Aranda, Staff Counsel
(951) 541-9327

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.: A federal district court in Alabama approved a consent order today ensuring that police in Birmingham, Alabama, will not interfere with the expressive activities of the pro-life youth group Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust. The city agreed to the order after the Survivors, represented by the Life Legal Defense Foundation, sued for injunctive relief and damages.

The suit, filed in early June, arose from an incident in February 2009, when nine members of the Survivors, based in Riverside, California, were arrested and jailed overnight for displaying pro-life signs and handing out literature on a public sidewalk outside a high school in Birmingham. Rather than investigating the incident and admitting that the police had violated the Survivors’ rights, the city later filed misdemeanor trespass charges against them. These criminal charges are still pending.

Because the Survivors planned to travel to Birmingham this month to participate in various pro-life activities scheduled for late July, they asked LLDF to obtain a preliminary injunction to ensure that they would not suffer the same treatment from police as they had last year. In the course of seeking that injunction, LLDF lawyers learned that the city had a “demonstration” ordinance that required groups as small as two persons to obtain permits before engaging in various free speech activity.

“What started as a lawsuit to get fair treatment for the Survivors has evolved into a broader challenge to the city’s unconstitutional permit scheme,” said Katie Short, legal director of the Life Legal Defense Foundation. “We have learned from local pro-lifers that this law has been a thorn in their side for years. We are hopeful that when this suit is over, we will have not only vindicated the Survivors’ rights, but also have relieved the local pro-life community of the burden of this onerous law.”

The Survivors are represented by LLDF attorneys Katie Short and Allison Aranda, as well as by local counsel Phillip Jauregui and Caroline Allen of Jauregui & Lindsey in Birmingham. The case is Turn the Hearts v. City of Birmingham, No. 2:10-CV-01477-LSC.

Life Legal Defense Foundation is a non-profit organization composed of attorneys and other concerned citizens, committed to giving helpless and innocent human beings of any age, and their advocates, a trained and committed voice in the courtrooms of our nation. For more information call Allison K. Aranda at 951-541-9327.

PDF copies of the complaint as filed in June, and the Court order.